Current Affairs Update – 21st August, 2015

Hello and welcome to ExamPundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 21st August, 2015. These are Important for the upcoming IBPS RRB 2015 Exam.

Finance –

R Gandhi panel recommended conversion of UCBs into Regular Banks

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) High Powered Committee on Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) headed by RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi in its report has recommended conversion of UCBs with business size of 20000 crore rupees or more into regular banks. This will allow them to grow and proliferate further for financial inclusion.
  • RBI on 20 August 2015 placed the panel’s report on its website and invited suggestions and comments from public on this report by 18 September 2015.

The important recommendations made by the HPC are briefly as under:
  • Business Size and Conversion of Multi-State UCBs into joint stock bank: A business size of 20000 crore rupees or more may be the threshold limit beyond which a UCB may be expected to convert itself into a commercial bank. The conversion need not be de jure compulsory. However, the types of businesses to be undertaken by those choosing not to convert may remain within the limits of plain vanilla products and services and hence, growth will be at a much slower pace. Their expansion in terms of branches, area of operations and business lines may thus be carefully calibrated.
  • Conversion of UCBs into Small Finance Banks (SFBs): Smaller UCBs with business size of less than 20000 crore rupees willing to convert to SFBs can apply to the Reserve Bank for conversion provided they fulfil all the eligibility criteria and selection processes prescribed by the Reserve Bank and further provided that the licensing window for SFBs is open.
  • Issue of fresh licences: Licenses may be issued to financially sound and well-managed co-operative credit societies having a minimum track record of 5 years which satisfy the regulatory prescriptions set by the Reserve Bank as licensing conditions. For providing banking access in unbanked areas, the Reserve Bank may put in place an appropriate set of incentives for existing banks to open branches there.
  • Board of Management (BoM) in addition to Board of Directors (BoDs): Putting in place a BoM as suggested by the Malegam Committee has to be one of the mandatory licensing conditions for licensing of new UCBs and expansion of existing ones.
  • Entry Point Norms: The new Entry Point Norms (EPNs) may be as under:

  • To operate as a Multi-State Urban Co-operative Bank- 100 crore rupees
  • To operate beyond two districts and as a State level UCB - 50 crore rupees
  • To operate as District level UCB (upto 2 districts) - 25 crore rupees
  • In case of conversion of co-operative credit societies in unbanked areas and in the north-east, suitable relaxation may be made by the Reserve Bank.
Depositors as voting members: The depositors ought to have a say on the Boards of UCBs. For this, a majority of the board seats may be reserved for depositors by making suitable provisions in the bye-laws.

Bharti Airtel ties up with Uber for wallet services

  • Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has tied up with taxi-hailing app Uber for its wallet services. Now, Uber riders can pay for their trips with Airtel’s mobile wallet service — Airtel Money.
  • Uber already has a similar tie-up with Paytm Wallet. Additionally, in Mumbai, riders can get free access to high-speed Internet inside Uber, powered by Airtel 4G. This service will soon be rolled out for Uber riders pan-India.
  • This integration will provide riders with another hassle-free payment option and will make Uber the first technology platform to officially launch Airtel Money. For a limited time, new Uber riders who top up their Airtel Money wallet will earn up to Rs. 500 for free. Additionally, starting with Mumbai, every Uber vehicle in India will soon be equipped with free WiFi, powered by Airtel 4G. Whether riding to work or a night out in town, Uber will offer commuters high-speed internet at no data charges, powered by Airtel 4G.
  • Airtel will also become Uber’s official telecom partner across India, and support the company’s rapid growth in India by offering mobile, data and device plans to Uber driver-partners. As part of this alliance, Uber will also offer exclusive promotions, discounts and experiences to Airtel customers — including Rs. 500 off on their first ride upon using Airtel Money.

India –

Minority Ministry Launches Online Application Management System (OAMS) for "Nai Roshni"

Dr. Najma Heptulla,the Union Minister for Minority Affairs Launched Online Application Management System (OAMS) for Nai Roshni. Speaking on the occasion she said the system brings the scheme in to public domain and will facilitate transparency and quick delivery.
The Ministry has developed an Online Application Management System (OAMS) for Nai Roshni scheme. The procedures involved and benefits of the system include:
  • Submission of online application and generation of an application ID with date.
  • Online screening of applications.
  • Online receipt of documents.
  • No loss of documents due to postal or human negligence.
  • Curtailment of procedural delays.
  • Minimized paper work.
  • Time saving.
  • The applicant can check the status of their applications with their ID.
  • Online project approval, sanctions and release of funds.
  • Online monitoring of projects.
  • Reports on trained women, location of projects etc. available in public domain.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs implements Nai Roshni a scheme for Leadership Development of Minority Women since 2012-13, to empower and instill confidence in women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, banks and intermediaries at all levels.

Narendra Modi-Barack Obama hotline becomes operational

  • The hotlines or secure lines of communication between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama and their national security advisers have recently become operational, though it has not been put to use during its short lifespan so far.
  • With this India becomes only the fourth country- after Russia, Great Britain and China - with which the US has a hotline.
  • For India this is the first hotline at the level of head of state.
  • In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to establish hotlines at the level of foreign secretaries, and in 2010 New Delhi and Beijing announced to establish a hotline at the foreign minister level.
  • According to publicly available information the hotline between India and Pakistan was established with the help of US military.
  • India-China hotline is yet to become operational.

Himachal Pradesh Government launched RISHTA project

  • Himachal Pradesh Government on 20 August 2015 launched the Rajiv Gandhi Illuminating Scheme for Hill Town Advancement (RISHTA) project, an efficient smart LED based street lighting project. With this, Himachal Pradesh became the first state in North India to do so.
  • The scheme is also known as Centralized Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) Smart Street Lighting Scheme for Urban Local bodies which implements LED based street lighting project. This project is being implemented by collaboration of state Urban Development Department and EESL.
  • EESL (Energy Efficient Services Limited) is a joint venture company formed by four power sectors i.e. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), Power Finance Corporation Ltd. (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).

Union Government launched web portal Vidya Lakshmi for Students Seeking Educational Loans

  • The Union Government on 15 August 2015 launched a web portal named Vidya Lakshmi ( for the benefit of  students seeking Educational Loans.
  • It is the first portal of its kind that provides single window for students to access information and make application for educational loans provided by banks as well as for government scholarships.
  • The Portal was developed by NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (NSDL e-Gov) under the guidance of Department of Financial Services under Union Ministry of Finance, Department of Higher Education under Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

 Highlights of the Portal
  •  It provides information about educational loan schemes of banks
  •  Common educational loan application form for students
  •  It has facility to apply to multiple banks for educational loans
  •  It allows banks to download students’ loan applications and upload loan processing status
  •  It offers students to email grievances/queries relating to educational loans to banks
  •  It has dashboard facility for students to view status of their loan application

Appointments –

Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

  • Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.
  • Wickremesinghe, a lawmaker since 1977, had served the country as its Prime Minister on three occasions. He held the post from 1993-94, 2002-2004 and since January 2015.
  • Apart from this, immediately after the swearing-in, the General Secretaries of the two main parties in the country, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in the parliament and form a National Government.

World –

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras resigned and called for snap polls

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a televised address to the nation announced his resignation on 20 August 2015. He submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date.
  • 41-year-old Tsipras, who was elected as the Prime Minister in January 2015, said that he felt a deep moral obligation to lay his action before the judgement of the Greek people.
  • Tsipras resigned with an aim to defend the massive bailout of 86 billion-euro (96 billion dollars), which Greece received from the creditors. This third bailout to the country since 2010, led to rebellion within his left-wing Syriza party.

Books & Authors –

Book titled Mrs Funnybones authored by Twinkle Khanna released

  • The book titled Mrs Funnybones: She’s Just Like You and a Lot Like Me authored by former Bollywood actress Twinkle Khanna was released on 18 August 2015. Mrs. Funnybones is about how a modern woman looks at India and how India looks back at her.
  • Full of wit and delicious observations, Mrs Funnybones captures the life of the modern Indian woman who organizes dinner each evening, even as she goes to work all day, who runs her own life but has to listen to her Mummyji, who worries about her weight and the state of the country.
  • The book is the bigger version of Twinkle Khanna’s super-hit column Mrs Funnybones.  She is a popular columnist and her contributions can be seen in The Times of India and DNA After Hrs.

Making India Awesome authored by Chetan Bhagat released

  • The book titled Making India Awesome authored by Chetan Bhagat was released by Rupa Publications on 19 August 2015.
  • This is the second non-fiction book written by the country’s biggest-selling writer Chetan Bhagat. His first non-fiction book was What Young India Wants which was well received by the readers.
  • In this book of essays the author analyses and provides inspired solutions to the country's most intractable problems—poverty, unemployment, corruption, violence against women, communal violence, religious fundamentalism, illiteracy and more.
  • Using simple language and concepts, this book presents the most complex of problems facing the nation today and gives practical solutions to solve them.


Team ExamPundit


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